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Hill Air Force Base wins DOE award for energy efficiency

Construction of a new 3.55 MW solar array was completed June 2019 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The array feeds directly into the electric grid adding to the base's existing renewable energy prodcution capability and was one of several projects that contributed to the base's energy office earning the 2019 Federal Energy and Water Management Award from the U.S. Department of Energy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

Construction of a new 3.55 MW solar array was completed June 2019 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The array feeds directly into the electric grid adding to the base's existing renewable energy prodcution capability and was one of several projects that contributed to the base's energy office earning the 2019 Federal Energy and Water Management Award from the U.S. Department of Energy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- The Energy Office at Hill Air Force Base earned high honors recently when the installation was awarded the 2019 Federal Energy and Water Management Award from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The annual award recognizes outstanding contributions in the areas of energy efficiency, water conservation and the use of renewable energy technologies at federal facilities.

Nick King, base energy and utility manager, said the award is a validation of the installation’s efforts underway with a $91.1 million, 23-year term Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) awarded in April 2018 to Energy Systems Group (ESG).

ESPCs allow federal agencies such as the Air Force to partner with energy service companies to provide energy savings, resiliency, and facility improvements with no up-front capital costs to the government and without special Congressional appropriations.

“There are DOD directives that guide us to reduce our energy consumption, so this will go a long way to us actually meeting those requirements,” King said. “This is an excellent avenue for us to get some new infrastructure and equipment, which has always been a challenge for us to fund, but without having to come up with money up-front.”

In addition to the cost benefits, the energy conservation projects in progress at Hill are contributing to the Air Force’s goal to make installations more energy resilient by relying less on energy sources outside the fence line in order to sustain its missions.

The ESPC at Hill is being used to fund a comprehensive project throughout the base with an allocation of $42 million to infrastructure upgrades to 328 buildings across more than 9-million square feet.

Some energy conservation improvements have included new LED lighting and lighting controls in 166 buildings, as well as upgrades to the steam distribution systems in 162 buildings, compressed air systems, and various other ventilation and control systems across the base.

A new 3.55 MW solar array was also completed in June that feeds directly into the base’s electric grid, adding to the base’s existing renewable energy production capability.

In total, the project improvements will reduce annual energy consumption at Hill by 9% and energy costs by 13%, while increasing the installation’s distributed and renewable energy portfolio by 30%.

A minimum savings of $3.2 million annually is expected and will in-turn be used to pay for the project’s total cost during the term of the contract.

“The final benefits to the Air Force will be multiple, in that actual total savings are projected to be a fair amount over the ESPC required annual minimum,” King said. “Also, the additional savings realized upon contract term completion, are then free and returned to the government. This really helps us with balancing future consumption differences, as workload increases and missions change.”

Several individuals and organizations played a role in being selected for the award, King said, including Brian Walsh, energy engineer, Karen Bastian, outreach coordinator, and Keith Carvalho, contracting. In addition, he touted the close working relationship with the base’s Ogden Air Logistics Complex, specifically Aaron Erickson, Ogden ALC energy manager, and Garth Beutler, facilities engineer.

(This article was corrected Sept. 5 at paragraph 3 to indicate that the Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) awarded in April 2018 was to Energy Systems Group (ESG).)